It's spring time (in spite of the rain) and love is in the air. Do you recall the first time you ever held hands with someone you liked, those stolen glances, and the first sweet kiss? I do (what girl doesn't?).
Strange as it seems, I get some of those same feelings when I work with new buyers and sellers. While it isn't exactly love at first sight, there is often a lovely infatuation period that ensues while we get to know one another and a familial affection that grows as we proceed together through the journey - and well beyond.
Realtors work so intimately with their clients that we quickly become close friends, trusted allies and confidantes. We often develop very meaningful short-term and hopefully, long-term relationships with you.
Like all new relationships, adjusting to one another and refining the partnership is a part of the process as we each come to understand one another's work habits and perspectives. When everything goes according to plan and the goals are met or better yet, surpassed, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, every once in awhile (very rarely) the collaboration can be less productive.
When that happens, it may be time to start anew. Should a relationship fall short of a seller or buyer's expectations, a decision to work with another agent may become a consideration. As difficult as this is (breaking up is hard to do - especially if we've been working together for many months as opposed to just a few weeks) sometimes working with someone else may be the best course of action.
Where personalities and emotions are involved, not every relationship is bound to be the perfect match and that's okay. However, sometimes it has less to do with the agent and more to do with a buyer or seller's unrealistic expectations of the market in which case, it matters not with whom you choose to work.
Let me break it to you gently: if you are writing too sharply, listing too high, expecting more than the market will bear, making difficult demands, or trailing the market by months or even years (as many buyers and sellers do) the problem may not be with your Realtor.
On the other hand, let's give good old-fashioned chemistry its due and say that even when everything is going right, sometimes the relationship has soured for reasons beyond our understanding. If trust has left the building, then it is definitely time to change your representation. In which case, let me refer you to a colleague that's a better fit and let us part professionally and on good terms. (We'd both prefer to use the time more effectively.)
Switching agents is appropriate as well when geography comes into play. While a licensed CAR agent (California Association of Relators) may represent property anywhere in the state of California, that scenario rarely benefits you - the consumer. If you are buying or selling in San Francisco, work with a San Francisco agent. Likewise, if your goal is to buy or sell in the East Bay, it doesn't make sense to work with an agent from The City, or one from Marin - does it? (No, it doesn't.)
I am currently working with one motivated buyer who has a Marin agent, a LaMorinda agent and a Piedmont agent because she is unclear where she'll eventually dock and she wants all her available oars in the water. That makes perfect sense to me (and I appreciate knowing that I am not the only rower in the boat). If it's all out in the open, everyone understands their role and proceeds in good faith.
On the other hand, working with three agents who all cover the same territory is more likely to prove ineffective than beneficial. Why? Without some sense of loyalty to one another, you are very likely to be passed over for clients that are more firmly committed and engaged. With time at a premium, housing stock in short supply and incredibly strong buyer demand, the responsive player is bound to get attention before the client who is pitting one agent against the other.
So if you are working with an agent with whom you have great faith and trust. Stay true! If not, then it's probably time to break up - even when it's hard to do!
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.